Fine studio portrait of Norwegian volunteer Alf Henry Rødseth, born 9 September 1922, member of the Den Norske Legion (Norwegian Legion) of the Waffen-SS, which fought in the northern sector of the Eastern Front, near Leningrad. His rank is SS-Schütze (Private) and wears the Ostfront 1941/42 (Winterschlacht im Osten) ribbon in his tunic button.

German Aviator Lt. Josef Mai, recipient of the Iron Cross (first and second class) who during the Great War was credited with 30 aerial victories. He fought during the German offensive for Paris, and fought around Warsaw on the Eastern Front in 1915. Later fighting on the Western Front would have him involved with dogfights during both the Battle of Verdun and Battle of the Somme. During World War II, he was a flight instructor for the Luftwaffe.

He died in 1982, at the age of 94.


gep. Selb. für Sturmgeschütz 7,5 cm Stu.K. 40 (L/43) Ausf. F (Sd.Kfz. 142/1)

Schutze  in the foreground is armed with one Soviet semi-automatic rifle SVT-40. Note that  he seems to carry the iron cross of second class around the neck , yet a prohibited practice.


1945  March 20

The stories of the young HJ soldiers congratulated by the fuhrer in the closing days of world war II  

Führer und Reichskanzler (“Leader and Reich Chancellor”) Adolf Hitler touches the face of Wilhelm “Willi” Hubner a Hitlerjugend  during an awards ceremony behind the Reich Chancellery on March 20, 1945.

This view was taken from “Die Deutsche Wochenschau” Nummer 755 (“The German Weekly Review” Number 755), which was the last newsreel circulated to non-occupied Germany in March 1945.

To Hubner’s left is Alfred Czech. To his right, two persons down, is Erwin Scheidewig.

Reichjugendfuhrer “Reich Youth Leader”) Artur Axmann had just presented twenty Hitler Youth with the Eisernes Kreuz (“Iron Cross”) Second Class.

Hubner was first decorated by Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph P. Goebbels in Lauban, a German city retaken by the Nazis on March 6, 1945.

Hubner was a messenger attached to the Fuhrer-Grenadier-Division and was decorated for bravery under fire in the city square on March 9.

Hubner was flown to Berlin, given a new uniform, and after waiting a short time, was redecorated by Axmann. Hitler never actually awarded the medals.

The scene was photographed and Hubner was compelled to tell his story for the cameras. Hubner told his story, probably heavily edited, for the cameras:

“When the Russians were closing in on Lauban, I reported for voluntary duty as a messenger to the combat commander. My job was to take dispatches to the individual command posts. I also frequently took provisions and panzerfausts (literally "tank fists” a disposable anti-tank weapon) up to the front line under fire.I carried the panzerfausts in a wheel barrow under enemy fire.“

The son of a farmer in Goldenau, Silesia, Czech made two trips under fire with his father’s horse cart rescue wounded German soldiers. He first brought out eight, then four soldiers. The next day, while hiding in their home, a General ordered Czech to fly to Berlin to meet Hitler. Arriving in Berlin, Czech could hear the Soviet artillery outside the city, which was not yet in range.

Hubner and Czech and eighteen others were given a large breakfast and put on clean uniforms. They lined up outside the Chancellery’s back wall in the garden. While they waited for Hitler, Axmann told them to be at ease and to not greet the Fuhrer with the Nazi salute. Axmann pinned the Iron Crosses on the Hitler Youth.

Czech remembered his conversation with Hitler as "So you are the youngest of all? Weren’t you afraid when you rescued the soldiers?”. Czech responded “No, my Führer!”

Decades later, Czech stated “"Even at [age] twelve, I was an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler,” After the ceremony, the Hitler Youth lunched with Hitler in the Führerbunker, and told him their combat stories.

Hitler was especially pleased with Hubner’s story, as it reminded him of his own time as a messenger during World War I. The Hitler Youth were given one wish before returning to combat; Czech asked for and received an accordion. He could not return to Goldenau; the Red Army had occupied it.

He appeared with Erwin Scheideweg in a Netherlands Television documentary called “Die Hitlerjugend” in 1973. Nothing further is known about Erwin Scheideweg.

Armin Lehmann often said to be standing with Hubner and Czech, wasn’t present on March 20, 1945, but was decorated on Hitler’s birthday on April 20, 1945 in an undocumented ceremony outside the Fuhrerbunker in the Chancellery garden.


Hubner received his Iron Cross and was congratulated by Goebbels in Lauban on March 9, 1945

He joined his comrades as they received their Iron crosses from Axmann then shortly after, congratulated by the fuhrer all in Berlin on March 20, 1945 

Generalleutnant Agustín Muñoz Grandes, commander of the the Blue Division (División Española de Voluntarios), photographed with the Iron Cross Second Class which was awarded on 8 September 1941. During his command Muñoz Grandes was decorated with the Knight’s Cross on 12 March 1942 and on 13 December 1942 with the Oakleaves which was personally added by Hitler for his valiant conduct in the fighting against the Soviets.


history meme - (1/8) women

Hanna Reitsch (1912–1979) was a German aviatrix and one of the most well-known Nazi test pilots. She was the only woman awarded the Luftwaffe Pilot/Observer Badge (1941) and the Iron Cross, First Class (1943) during World War II. Fascinated with flying from an early age, Reitsch reportedly attempted to jump off the balcony of her home at the age of 4 in eagerness to experience flight. At her death she had set over 40 aviation altitude and endurance records both before and after World War II and any of her records have yet to be beaten.

In 1937, Reitsch was made a Luftwaffe civilian test pilot, a post she would hold until the end of World War II, and tested several bombers for which she received the Iron Cross, Second Class, from Adolf Hitler in 1941. Reitsch was the first female helicopter pilot and her flying skill, desire for publicity and photogenic qualities made her a star of Nazi Party propaganda in which she appeared throughout the late 1930s. In 1942, she crash landed on her fifth Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet flight and was badly injured and Reitsch received the Iron Cross, First Class, a few days after the accident. On 28 February 1944, she presented her idea of Operation Suicide to Hitler who, however, “did not consider the war situation sufficiently serious” to warrent it. In October 1944, Reitsch was shown a booklet concerning the gas chambers. While she claimed she believed it to be enemy propaganda, she agreed to inform Heinrich Himmler about it. Himmler asked her if she believed it and she replied, “No, of course not. But you must do something to counter it. You can’t let them shoulder this onto Germany.” During the last days of the war, Hitler dismissed Hermann Göring as head of the Luftwaffe and instead appointed Reitsch’s lover, Generaloberst Robert Ritter von Greim, after they had flown into embattled Berlin to meet him in the Führerbunker. Red Army troops were already in Berlin when Reitsch and von Greim arrived on 26 April in a Fieseler Fi 156 Storch but with her long experience at low-altitude flying over Berlin and having already surveyed the road as an escape route, Reitsch landed on an improvised airstrip in the Tiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate. They left again on 28 April under heavy shooting from Soviet troops who feared that Hitler was escaping in the plane but the it took off successfully. Before leaving, Hitler gave Reitsch and Von Greim a cyanide phial each before dismissing them from the bunker.

Reitsch was captured soon after the fall of the Third Reich and was held and interrogated for eighteen months. Her companion, von Greim, committed suicide on 24 May. After her release, Reitsch settled in Frankfurt am Main. Following the war, German citizens were barred from flying powered aircraft, but within a few years gliding was allowed, which she took up and in 1952, she won a bronze medal in the World Gliding Championships in Spain as the first woman to compete. From 1962 to 1966, she lived in Ghana, where she founded the first black African national gliding school and worked for Kwame Nkrumah. In 1970, she gained the Diamond Badge. While in Ghana, Reitsch’s attitudes to race changed: “Earlier in my life, it would never have occurred to me to treat a black person as a friend or partner…” She now experienced guilt at her earlier “presumptuousness and arrogance”. In her final interview in the 1970s, she, however, remarked that “many Germans feel guilty about the war. But they don’t explain the real guilt we share — that we lost.” Reitsch died in Frankfurt at the age of 67, on 24 August 1979, reportedly after a heart attack. It is, however, known that she somehow had managed to retain her cyanide capsule and some believe that Reitsch, who had made a suicide pact with her lover von Greim, may have been fulfilling her end of the pact by taking the capsule. Unfortunately, no post mortem was ever made on her body to confirm this (+more).


Oberleutnant Ernst Freiherr von Althaus

Ernst Althaus joined the 1st Royal Saxon Hussar Regiment as an Ensign at the age of 16 and was promoted to Leutnant in 1911. He was awarded the Military Order of St. Henry and the Iron Cross, second class, on 27 January 1915

He transferred to the air service on 4 April 1915. Nicknamed Hussar Althaus, he completed his training and was promoted to Oberleutnant before joining FA 23 on 20 September 1915.

He is credited with 9 victories.

SS-Sturmbannführer Joachim Peiper (right) decorates a soldier of the Leibstandarte Division with the Iron Cross Second Class during Operation Zitadelle in July 1943. Behind is his adjutant SS-Untersturmführer Werner Wolff, awarded the Knight’s Cross shortly afterwards.

Field tunic of an SS-Hauptsturmführer from the 14. Waffen Grenadier Division der SS Galicia (ukrainische Nr 1). It belonged to a German officer who served in the Totenkopf Division, hence the SS-Totenkopfstandarte Oberbayern cuffband, and was transferred to Galicia Division to boost experience in the officer corps. Note the machine-embroidered rampant lion collar patch and the Galician arm shield, with golden-yellow rampant lion, crowns and border on a blue field. His awards and decorations include the Iron Cross Second Class, General Assault Badge and Wound Badge in Gold.

SS-Brigadeführer und Generalmajor der Waffen-SS Jürgen Wagner (left), winner of the Knight’s Cross and commander of 23. SS Freiwilligen Panzergrenadier Division Nederland (niederlandische Nr 1), talking to some of his young soldiers on the occasion of their decoration with the Iron Cross Second Class for bravery in combat, May 1944. Formed in Croatia in the autumn of 1943, it was transferred to the Leningrad area in January 1944 and took part in the battles around Narva in the summer. All of them are wearing the M44 camouflage drill uniform except for the man standing at the back who wears the trousers only with his “Plane Tree” pattern smock and Wagner, who wears the tunic only. 

Knight’s Cross winner Oberleutnant Peter Kiesgen won the award on 5 October 1941 during Operation Barbarossa as Führer (Leader) of 1./Infanterie-Regiment 239 of the 106. Infanterie-Division. The Oberleutnant wears five tank destruction badge on his right sleeve, each one awarded for the single-handed destruction of an enemy tank. Other medals include the Infantry Assault Badge, Iron Cross First and Second Class, Wounded Badge in Black and interesting on his right center of the pocket the Spanish Cross in Bronze with Swords.

SS-Sturmbannführer Jonas Lie photographed in 1943 in Waffen-SS officer uniform. Lie had served with the Leibstandarte Division in 1941 and had received the Iron Cross Second Class. A tough, ambitious man (and best-selling mystery writer in his spare time), he was second-in-command of the Den Norske Legion in 1942-1943 during the fighting on Leningrad Front.